We would like to respond to concerns from residents regarding unusual discolouration and odour being reported in Harmony’s water supply. First, after a thorough review this week of our testing and treatment processes by Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP), it has been determined there is no health risk to consuming and using water as normal.
Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) Findings
Testing by AEP has determined water discolouration is due to the presence of naturally occurring manganese.
Manganese is found in most drinking water, and at higher concentrations can produce discolouration and unpleasant taste. Only in extreme cases does it pose a threat to human health. Health Canada has set a Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) of 0.12 mg/L for manganese in drinking water. Testing from numerous points in the Harmony treatment process indicates our water falls below this threshold, at between 0.039-0.091 mg/L.
For further assurance, water samples have been sent to an independent laboratory for testing. This will also help determine the cause of the unpleasant odour some residents have reported. This is most likely due to organic compounds in the source water, which again, are producing an unpleasant aesthetic, but do not affect the water’s safety. This will also help us determine the presence of Geosmin algae. Geosmin was an issue in several Bow River communities this fall, as we have reported previously, but which we expected would diminish with winter temperatures.
The AEP evaluation also confirmed the Treatment Plant has been optimized for the treatment of surface water pathogen removal, and that all processes are operating within expected parameters.
Once results are received from the independent laboratory, Corix will have a better understanding of the best way to address these water quality issues. Increased water sampling and testing will continue, and adjustments to our treatment protocols, such as system flushing, and increased aeration, may be recommended.
Please note any such measures will be implemented gradually, and will require testing to validate their effectiveness, so it may take time before improvements are seen by residents.
We thank all Harmony residents for their understanding and patience as we work through these issues, and will provide further updates as we learn more.